Streets of Ferguson stay calm after violent nights

By Jim Salter, Associated Press

Published: Sat, Aug. 23, 2014, 12:00 a.m. MDT

 Protesters march Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protesters again gathered Thursday evening, walking in laps near the spot where Michael Brown was shot. Some were in organized groups, such as clergy members. More signs reflected calls by protesters to remove the prosecutor from the case.

Protesters march Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protesters again gathered Thursday evening, walking in laps near the spot where Michael Brown was shot. Some were in organized groups, such as clergy members. More signs reflected calls by protesters to remove the prosecutor from the case.

(Jeff Roberson, Associated Press)

FERGUSON, Mo. — Ferguson's streets were peaceful for a third night as tensions between police and protesters continued to subside after nights of violence and unrest erupted when a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old.

A small stream of protesters marched in the St. Louis suburb as night fell Friday, but instead of confrontations with police, several stopped to talk one-on-one with officers about the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown and tactics used by authorities during previous demonstrations.

The St. Louis County NAACP planned a youth march Saturday afternoon to the site where Brown was killed.

While many residents are hopeful that tensions were waning and eager to end the disruptions to their lives caused by protests and police presence, some say they fear the community's anger could explode anew if the grand jury now considering the case doesn't return a charge against the officer, Darren Wilson.

"This officer has to be indicted. I'd hate to see what happens if he isn't. The rioting, the looting, man ..." said resident Larry Loveless, 29, as he stopped Friday at the memorial for Brown.

St. Louis County prosecutors this week convened a grand jury to begin hearing evidence in the case, despite concerns among some in the community — including Brown's parents — that the office would not be impartial because of District Attorney Bob McCulloch's ties to law enforcement. McCulloch's father, mother and other relatives worked for St. Louis police, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect. He has said he will not remove himself from the case.

Considering the racial tensions of the case, even the makeup of the grand jury was being closely scrutinized. Two black women and one black man are on the 12-member panel, along with six white men and three white women, said Paul Fox, director of judicial administration for St. Louis County Circuit Court.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said she's pushing for the local investigation and a separate one being done by the federal government to be completed around the same time so that all evidence in the case can be made public — a step many consider important should prosecutors decide not to charge the officer. Her office said Friday that the Department of Justice hasn't given a timeline for the federal investigation, which centers on whether a civil rights violation occurred when officer Darren Wilson fatally shot the unarmed Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

Gov. Jay Nixon, in an interview with the AP, didn't say if he agreed with McCaskill's call to conclude both investigations at the same time. He said the full focus is on seeking justice.

"To me it's one you've got to get right. Just got to get it right," he said.

Associated Press reporters Ryan J. Foley and Nigel Duara contributed to this report from Ferguson.

1. roberto
Moses Lake, WA,
Aug. 23, 2014

The cop doesn't stand a chance of a fair trial if indited. The only thing that we know is what we see on the store security video and what the dead mans friend says. 5 or 6 autopsy's contradict the friends story and past dealings with the legal system make his testimony suspect at best. We have heard very little of the police officers side of the story, and apparently that doesn't matter because he has already been convicted by the rioters and looters.

2. Nan BW
ELder, CO,
Aug. 23, 2014

Every time an officer reports for work, he is stepping into unknown territory, even if he has been there six years, or 40. This is especially true in a place such as Ferguson. If police officers cannot defend themselves against "unarmed" (didn't the guy have two large arms?) citizens who are clearly not respectful of the law, fewer and fewer people will go into law enforcement. I am not in favor of police overstepping their boundaries, but I think Officer Wilson was reacting logically in a threatening circumstance. And whether or not the protestors continue with their protest is not relevant to the legal proceedings.

3. dave4197
Redding, CA,
Aug. 23, 2014

The cop had no reason to kill Michael Brown. After recognizing that fact, we can have a fair trial and an open discussion about everything else surrounding.
The parents of Michael Brown are real dears, speaking out for non violent demonstrations, speaking out for their son, speaking out against those who loot and violently demonstrate. We can have an open discussion and a fair trial, some time.
Police should've been factual and open long before now. The officer involved has certainly been interviewed and his medical condition is certainly known. No reason for a police cover up except to try to protect themselves, won't work though, the truth will come out. Better for the police to be on the side of open-ness and where it leads than to be on the side of secrecy.
And I've read all the news from many sources, pro and con. You all can too. This murder was not justified period.

4. Rufio
Saratoga, UT,
Aug. 23, 2014

How is it that a Grand Jury is under way when the investigation is incomplete, the autopsies are not concluded and evidence is not final? Is there a rush to judgement going on or do we want to find the truth?

5. Sven
Morgan, UT,
Aug. 23, 2014

Here's what we've learned thus far:

1) Brown and Johnson committed a strong-armed robbery of a convenient store just prior to the confrontation with Officer Wilson

2) Officer Wilson knew nothing of the robbery when he first came across Brown and Johnson; he was simply attempting to get Brown and Johnson to not walk in the street

3) Brown attacked Officer Wilson in his Patrol Car; contradicting Johnson's account

4) The autopsy reports conclude that all of the 6 shots fired at brown entered the front of his body; this directly contradicts Johnson and other "witnesses" accounts that said they saw Officer Wilson shoot Brown in the back as he was trying to flee. It also proves Brown didn't have his arms up in the surrender position.

5) Officer Wilson sustained an orbital eye fracture as the result of Brown attacking him inside his patrol car

Sadly, race hustler Al Sharpton, who has a history of stirring up racial strife based on lies (e.g. Tawana Brawley and the Duke Lacrosse Team) is not swayed by facts. Like Obama, he will not let a good crisis go to waste; this is how he makes a living after-all.